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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 7 September 2014


A new political order appears to be secretly unfolding on the horizon in Western province politics that is seen to be aimed at liberating the Luhya community from being used as stepping stone to State House.

The argument is that for a long time since the introduction of multi-party politics, Luhyas have been used to propel other communities to power only to be dumped or their sons sidelined.
In 1992, Cyrus Jirongo was instrumental in having then President Daniel Moi retain power under the tutelage of his then powerful YK92 network. When Moi got to power, Jirongo was the target of a camp allied to the late George Saitoti that was out to nip his political advances in the bud politically.

His multi-million housing projects were marked by the late Mutula Kilonzo, a lawyer with powerful connections in Moi era then engaged by National Social Security Fund.
Then in 2002, came the Narc government. The late vice-president Michael Wamalwa Kijana shelved his political ambitions in favour of Mwai Kibaki. Wamalwa died in a London hospital a bitter man. Before his death, Wamalwa had remarked that a section of people in Narc around then president Kibaki, were getting drunk with power.

Come 2007, the community rallied behind ODM led by Raila Odinga. Musalia Mudavadi was a major player in the Raila led outfit and a member of the once respected Pentagon. Having lost the 2007 general elections in controversial circumstances, and having joined the ruling coalition with Mudavadi as his deputy prime minister, Raila started fighting Mudavadi using his own members of the kitchen cabinet led by his cousin, Jakoyo Midiwo and Otieno Kajwang. The result was Mudavadi bolting out to run for presidency in 2013. He was, however, later to be labelled as a betrayer by Raila lieutenants.

Prior to 2013, Uhuru Kenyatta had agreed to step down for Mudavadi, whose star across the country was shining as the only likely candidate who would consolidate the country and bring it together as a nation.  Uhuru made a 360 degrees about-turn and claimed mashetani had misled him. The truth of the matter is, William Ruto had threatened to join Raila side if Uhuru was to allow Mudavadi to be Jubilee candidate.

Analysts say the 500,000 votes Mudavadi got on his Amani alliance during the presidential race helped Uhuru win. The votes Mudavadi got could have landed in Raila hands leading to a presidential re-run. It is on this background that word spread that Mudavadi was used to divide votes in Raila strongholds. Fear was that in case of a rerun, Odinga was to defeat Uhuru hands down.

Immediately after 2013 election results, Amani entered into a deal with Jubilee. The result has been sideling the alliance with its key players Eugene Wamalwa of New Ford-Kenya and Mudavadi’s camps crying foul.

The Jubilee government has been sidelining Luhya community in appointments leading to outcries. The loss of Amani in Bungoma senate by-election was due to its association with Jubilee.

As Jubilee is frustrating its friends in Luhyaland, in Cord and ODM, all is not well either. A rebellion is looming in ODM with Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba fighting attempts to block him from being the party secretary-general on grounds that he is being sympathetic to a faction within the ruling Jubilee government.

If the ODM national delegates conference was allowed to proceed, Namwamba would have replaced Anyang Nyong’o as the powerful party secretary-general. The men in black did injustice to the Budalangi MP for Raila own betterment. For now, Namwamba and Raila political relationship is on and off, perhaps rusty.
Analysts say that both Jubilee and Cord have perfected the act of divide and rule while dealing with the Luhya equation.

In Cord, ODM enjoys support and Raila got majority votes in the region. To divide the region, he has perfected the art of bringing powerful forces on his side to counter rebellion. He has a checkmate in the name of Namwamba.

Kakamega senator Bonnie Khalwale is now a key member in Cord, although he was elected on Mudavadi’s led UDF ticket. Claims by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria that National Intelligence Service was used by Kibaki government to rig him out astounded and left many in awe.

Kuria said Khalwale did not defeat Jirongo and is in senate courtesy of rigging by the state with the help of Michael Gichangi then heading NIS.
Informed sources say UDF is planning to discipline Khalwale and revoke the party nomination leading to a by-election. If it happens, the Jirongo, Khalwale return match is expected but he has vowed to use the corridors of justice up to the Supreme Court should this happen.
Khalwale is close to Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula. During the Bungoma by-election, a section of Luhya politicians had thrown their weight to support Wetang’ula but retreated demanding Raila should keep off the campaigns.

Insiders well versed with current happenings in Luhya politics reveal that with majority of the leaders being in the political cold, they have decided to unite. The unity bid was advanced by the ever combative Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli prior to 2013 elections. Atwoli prayers were that they rally behind one presidential candidate for better recognition in national government. If they had agreed with Atwoli school of thought, one of them could be at State House feeling the septic tanks with ugali and chicken residues. For they were once bitten and twice shy, as the old adage goes, they are out to be united.

Those involved in the current unity talks are former speaker Kenneth Marende, Jirongo, Wamalwa and Mudavadi.  Soita Shitanda and a one Welengai from Lugari constituency names also feature. Kennedy Butiko and Webuye MP Alfred Sambu are also involved. A neutral party is to be formed to take charge of the region with Amani Congress being a possible outfit. Atwoli is being fronted to be the patron according to sources.

 The idea is to have those in support of Cord led by Wetang’ula ditch it for the sake of the ever elusive Luhya unity.
Aware of the growing rebellion in Luhyaland, ODM leader is said to be working on a move to scuttle and handle the situation. He was in Busia county recently to test the waters.
But as Raila perfects the art of divide and win in Luhyaland, in Jubilee, the story is the same.
Word has it that URP of Ruto is to make inroads using Luhya friendly MPs. The MPs, a majority who happen to be first timers in parliament are being promised lucrative business deals to fall prey to Ruto’s antics.

As Ruto will be dealing with MPs, Uhuru is to engage seasoned politicians among them Mudavadi, Wamalwa, Jirongo, Marende and Bifwoli Wakoli. The president is also to deal with governors from the region directly. Uhuru attended the homecoming party of Bungoma boss Kenneth Lusaka. He is said to have consulted Mudavadi and Wamalwa in recent government appointments that saw Aggrey Shitsama, a Mudavadi ally and George Godia land nominees for plum government slots. In fact, it is confirmed that it was Wamalwa who put in a word for Shitsama and not Mudavadi, his cousin. Uhuru was also instrumental in having Wamalwa accompany him during his recent tour to America.

It is said the newfound relationship between Jirongo and Mudavadi is sending shockwaves in the political terrain countrywide. Following the death of Jirongo’s mother sometimes back, Mudavadi was close to the family and visited and contributed towards the funeral arrangements.
The political sentiments by Atwoli at the burial which was attended by DP Ruto and other prominent Luhyas to the effect that the Luhya community is an endangered species than a protected one left many with no alternative but work for unity.

Never before has the word unity been at the talk in Luhyaland than today. Surprisingly, the person uniting the wounded community is Ruto who is seen by the community as its  number one enemy out to fight any of its prominent sons and daughters. The sugar industry is dead just like Panpaper of Webuye as insecurity takes centrestage and indeed, is out off control.